The History of the American Quarter Horse

Quarter Horses are one of the most popular breeds in the United States today. In fact, they are one of the oldest breeds that originated here. But how did the they get their start, and why are they so popular? Here is a quick history of the American Quarter Horse.

Breed Origins

These iconic American horses got their start during the 17th century as racing horses in the American colonies in the South. On one side, the breed has Arabian ancestry from its Thoroughbred sires. Those Thoroughbred sires were bred with Native American horses which had descended from horses the Spanish left behind, giving the breed Turk and Barb roots as well. The result was a shorter, stockier, but powerful and maneuverable breed that was run in short quarter-mile races, giving the breed its name.

Quarter Horses and the American West

By the 19th century, Quarter Horses were being outstripped by Thoroughbreds, which had become popular due to their ability to excel at longer races. Perhaps that would have been the end of the breed if it hadn’t been for Westward Expansion. This smaller, stockier horse was ideal for ranch work on the American Frontier. Cowboys started using Quarter Horses as  working horses and the demand brought many of these horses into the West.

The Quarter Horse Today

Even today, the Quarter Horse remains a popular breed in Western disciplines such as roping, penning, and Western pleasure. Quarter Horses are a versatile breed. This is why you’ll also see them in a variety of other disciplines ranging from trail riding to jumping to dressage. They are known as much for their easy-going attitudes as for their powerful musculature. Sometimes it’s hard to believe they were once used for racing, since many of their owners know them as dependable and laid back almost to the point of being lazy.

Feeding the Quarter Horse

Quarter Horses’ smaller size and genetic makeup frequently makes them easy keepers, meaning they gain and retain weight fairly easily. This means that you might not have to feed your Quarter Horse as much as you might feed a high-strung Thoroughbred. What and how much you feed may also depend heavily on how much your horse is worked. For help in determining what feed is right for your horse, contact Sacate Pellet Mills at 602-237-3809.